Sen. Cornyn to vote to confirm Garland for attorney general, despite policy differences

Mary Dimitrov
·2 min read

He opposes Merrick Garland’s views on gun control and the death penalty, but Sen. John Cornyn of Texas plans to vote to confirm him for attorney general.

Sen. Ted Cruz is undecided.

“I’m still reviewing his answers,” Cruz told the Star-Telegram Tuesday, a day after Garland testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “We’ll consider the merits.”

Cornyn will support Garland despite concerns over gun control and a likely federal death penalty moratorium, he said.

“I’m sure he’s going to make some decisions that I’m not going to be happy about,” Cornyn said. “But I think he’s an honorable person.”

Both Cornyn and Cruz are Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and questioned Garland at a confirmation hearing Monday.

The Senate’s vote to confirm Garland is expected to take place next week. Fifty-one votes are needed for his confirmation, which is expected to get bipartisan support.

Cornyn said he respects Garland’s commitment to upholding the rule of law. But the senator was concerned about policies Garland could support.

“He made clear he’s going to advance the administration’s policies, which is a separate issue from the rule of law,” Cornyn said Wednesday.

As attorney general, Garland would serve as the U.S. federal government’s chief lawyer and principal legal adviser to Biden. His job would include determining the legality of the Biden administration’s policies.

Cornyn said he was concerned about policy related to gun control and the death penalty. Cornyn has been a strong death penalty supporter and gun control opponent.

Asked during the confirmation hearing whether he supports “banning certain types of firearms,” Garland signaled that he would.

“Well, as I’m sure you know, the president is a strong supporter of gun control and has been an advocate all his professional life on this question,” Garland said. “Where there is room under the law for the president’s policies to be pursued, I think the president is entitled to pursue them.”

Garland told the committee that he expects a federal moratorium on the death penalty under the Biden administration.

“A terrible thing occurs when somebody is convicted of a crime that they did not commit, and the most terrible thing happens if someone is executed for a crime they did not commit,” Garland said Monday.

Cornyn said he will vote for Garland despite these differences.

“He’s probably the best we’re going to get,” Cornyn said.